A research team from the University of Waterloo has synthesized a prototype of a lithium-sulphur rechargeable battery that, thanks to its peculiar nanoscale structure, can store three times the power of a conventional lithium-ion battery in the same volume while being significantly lighter and potentially cheaper to manufacture.
When it comes to reducing our carbon footprint, a clean, long-lasting rechargeable battery could have enormous benefits in a wide range of applications, from efficient energy storage to clean transportation.
Pros and Cons of lithium-sulfur cells
•Delivers much higher energy densities while reducing the cost of the materials used:
•The composite material synthesized by Nazar’s team can supply as much as 84 percent of the theoretical capacity of sulphur – three times the energy density of lithium transition cathodes. This should account for significantly more efficient batteries which will be lighter as well.
•The basic raw materials for the positive electrode (sulfur and carbon) are very inexpensive.
•In terms of safety, because lithium-sulfur batteries typically employ a negative electrode comprised of metallic lithium, there could be safety concerns if the electrode is not adequately protected by a passivating layer. However, the research team seems optimistic that this won’t be impossible to overcome.
•The costs associated with processing, electrolyte, fabrication, etc could be high, still that is highly dependent on the optimization of the materials and the battery configuration.
•Capacity fading can be more of an issue, along with lower volumetric energy and those need to be tackled more fully.